Road Trip Itinerary: from Los Angeles to San Diego

When I go on a trip to another country, I don’t just visit the main cities on my itinerary. I also try to travel to nearby areas to get the most out of my trip.

Today, I want to recommend the road trip from Los Angeles to San Diego. Since this journey is only two hours driving, you will think that there is not much to do or visit, but the truth is that this route can be enriching for your trip.

Los Angeles to San Diego Drive, road trip itinerary

Here are a few stops you can make, so open the notepad on your cell phone or take out a piece of paper and a pencil to write down some notes.

Where to rent a car?

This route is not recommended if you are going by bus or train because the drivers stop specifically picking up passengers, but they won’t at restaurants or bathrooms.

For example, an ideal way would be to rent a car on a website like Rentalcars to take advantage of your road trip.

Are you looking to rent an RV for your trip? Check this link for more information and save money!

Los Angeles Route - San Diego by car rental

It is a comparator type of car rental, where you can choose the one that best suits you depending on your needs and budget. In addition, it accepts online payments with numerous credit cards.

Now, let’s start:

  • If you like coffee, I recommend you go to Starbucks, Tilt Coffee Bar, or Take Cake 5 because there’s nothing better than a typical American coffee shop to start the day off on this Route.
U.S. cafeteria

Note: at the end, I will leave you the link with the map of each place where you should go.

Santa Monica and more

  • I have to include Santa Monica as the first stop, which is the beach city par excellence, street art, and shopping.

Even more tempting is the fact that it has the famous Santa Monica Pier, a former fairground (Pacific Park), a boardwalk (Ocean Drive), two beaches (Venice Beach and Muscle Beach), and a well-known shopping street (Third Street Promenade).

If you have the time, a day or two would be perfect for visiting and enjoying this city, but if you have a couple of hours, take a walk through the harbor and amusement park.

Do you want to do a guided tour? Check it here!

Santa Monica Beach View

Read: Recommendations for Driving in America

Anaheim, best things to do

Nor can I overlook the theme park city, Anaheim, located just outside Los Angeles and Southern California.

If you have a full day off, you can stop by three Disney parks such as Disneyland, Disney California Adventure, and Disneyland Drive, but you can stay a week and visit as many attractions as you want.

Third, you can visit the Battleship USS Iowa Museum, a maritime museum located in St. Peter’s Harbor.

This ship was used during World War II, the Korean War, and the Cold War, and because of all of these trips, they decided to turn it into a museum; in short, this museum is another way to enjoy your trip.

Disney California in Anaheim

Doheny State Beach

Then you will arrive at Doheny State Beach, and it will be ideal for you to walk barefoot on the sand and stretch your legs a little on this beach characterized by being very clean and quiet.

It has supermarkets like the Smart & Final Extra five minutes away if you need groceries for your trip. (I usually take the opportunity to buy things that I left at home, on the previous trip, or that just didn’t fit in my luggage; a brush, some toothpaste, and sunscreen are always needed.)

Doheny State Beach

San Diego

  • You can visit more beaches like Moonlight State Beach, which is a 40-minute drive, and take advantage of snacks in restaurants like Honey’s Bistro and Bakery or Surf Brothers Teriyaki and Catering.
  • After satisfying your appetite, you can head to the San Diego Botanic Garden where the following are located: collections of plants from around the world, 30 themed gardens, and even plants that are used for medicine, food processing, clothing, and construction. Please note that it is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.
  • The fourth place on your tour will be the Mt. Soledad National Veterans Memorial, a memorial that pays homage to the veterans alive or deceased in wars where you can appreciate the plates of all these men who gave their lives for the nation and you can even capture a spectacular photo with a drone if you want.
  • Before completing this journey; La Jolla, which, while close to San Diego, is like visiting a totally different world. It is ideal for surfing, snorkeling, paddling, or diving with the sea inhabitants and making a campfire at the end of the day. Sounds very tempting, doesn’t it?
  • In the end, when arriving in San Diego, you can try a dessert in places like Donut Bar, Extraordinary Desserts, or if you are vegan, in restaurants like Evolution.
San Diego Botanic Garden

If you’re worried that your rented vehicle will run out of gas, rest easy, for, in the U.S., the roads are never long enough to need gas stations. In the mentioned stops, you will have at least five gas stations close to the car park.

As you realize in this post, even short road trips can become very amazing, in this way you will know places that are not very touristy but are great for stretching your legs, eating, and even taking pictures.

Finally, I leave you a list of gas stations, restaurants, parking lots, and supermarkets to help you along the way.

Map route Los Angeles to San Diego

The full route in this link

Finally, I leave you a list of gas stations, restaurants, parking lots, and supermarkets to go to on the way.

Gas stations Restaurants Parking lots Supermarkets
Chevron
Shell
Arc
Mobil
76
Pemex
Thrifty Gas
Sushi Gen
Jerry’s Tacos
Guichos Eatery
Lobster West
Great Maple
Tapas & Beers
Lot 663
Toy Story Parking Area
Parking
Parking P.Q
Downtown Parking
Long Term
Stucci
Target Grocery
Ralphs
San Marcos Market
Lazy Acres
Dakpanan Sila

I hope this post will be of great help and that in your next adventure, in addition to enjoying every corner programmed on your itinerary, you can discover small, local places on each tour.

Plan Your Trip To United States

For Your Pinterest

Must Visit Places From Los Angeles to San Diego

Book Your Trip

Book Your Flight
Find a cheap flight by using Skyscanner.

Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel, hotel, or apartments on Booking.com.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance.
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s your protection in case anything goes wrong. You never go on a trip without it.

Best companies for activities
Check out Civitatis.com and find the best tours in English (French, Spanish and Italian)

Are you looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel! I list all the ones I use to save money when I travel – and I think will help you too! (Is in Spanish yet)

Last Updated on 7 July, 2021 by Veronica

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